A friend of mine has just bought a 14" ultrabook with a 1366*768 display. The usual commerical, mainstream, low quality, standard display.
I suggested him to go for a 1600*900 display or to go for a 13.3 Zenbook (IPS, 1920*1080).
He told me that these resolutions would be too small for him, since at home he uses his Samsung 24" HD LED Display at a 1024*768 resolution, in order to have bigger icons and text.
I told him that this is (almost) a crime, that one should use the native display resolution (1080p in this case) and then rescale it increasing the DPI (120%, 150% or custom).
I know that I'm right, or at least I'm pretty sure of it.
It's just that I don't have enought technical knowledge to answer correctly and without any doubt to his points that I'm posting here.
Therefore I'm asking for your help.
Thanks in advance for your help and sorry for my long post.
Here it's what I told me:
Is that what he told you, or what you told him? I don't have the time to read the rest, but up to this point, I will say that with small screens, a lower resolution tends to make things easier. Not that a higher resolution wouldn't make things sharper, but 768p is fine for 14", even up to 19". One problem you run into is with a high resolution for the size of the screen, is that many programs will be very difficult to read. While you can increase the sizes of icons and the UI, the individual programs will still be limited to the size of text they were designed to use. Websites will require you to always increase the text size, and the pictures will remain small and difficult to see.
For gaming purposes, a higher resolution might look great, as you aren't reading, and they scale quite well, but productivity and surfing doesn't do so well with too high a resolution. The other problem with gaming, is higher resolutions require more GPU horsepower to have good FPS. Laptops and low end systems with small displays aren't likely to have the horsepower for a high resolution.
I'd tend to agree, stick with the size that is more comfortable for you.
The points numbered from 1 to 11 are my friend's point to defend his theory that 1080p resolution is useless (or just done for commercial reasons) on small displays (in a broad sense, meaning under 32").
My point is that if you have a FHD 24" display, you should stick to your native 1080p resolution and then increase your DPI to have bigger icons, text and windows.
Then you can zoom what your web content once and for all (or at least both for Chrome and Firefox), just by changing your zoom settings.
Gaming won't be a concern since he's not a gamer.
Let's just say that you will generally have an easier time if you choose to stick to a resolution that is comfortable to read at the normal UI scale. Most programs are not designed to increase in size, despite the UI increase, making it difficult. Web pages require you to zoom in every time you change, and Windows has a ton of older software designed around users using the UI settings set to 100%. It's just easier, and with ClearType, it doesn't even look poor.
Leave him be, he knows what he likes. You use what you like.